CITGO Supports Children’s Literacy with Bess the Book Bus Sponsorship

2015 program begins in Louisiana on April 20, before embarking on nationwide tour
Apr 20, 2015 12:30 PM ET

Houston, April 20, 2015 /3BL Media/ – More than 60,000 books will again be distributed to 25,000 children in underserved communities this year, thanks to Bess the Book Bus and CITGO Petroleum Corporation. The mobile literacy program kicks off its national tour on April 20 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and will continue during the year with stops in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.  

Fueled by a love for reading, program founder Jennifer Frances and volunteers will drive Bess the Book Bus to local schools, libraries and CITGO locations where they will read to children and provide them with new books. As an added bonus, CITGO will provide free pencils, bookmarks and coloring sheets to the kids. 

Frances has grown the program into one of the nation's most innovative mobile literacy initiatives. With support from sponsors like CITGO, Bess the Book Bus has visited 48 states, reached more than 60,000 children and donated more than 480,000 books since the bus first hit the road in 2002.  

“CITGO is one of the few companies that is willing to go the extra mile in its commitment to education programs – and its continued sponsorship of Bess the Book Bus is a tremendous help to my program,” said Frances. “Many of the children we reach on our tour have never owned a book of their own. With support from CITGO, we have the resources we need to continue reaching those children that can benefit the most.”  

Education is a priority within the CITGO corporate social responsibility program, as the company believes that through knowledge, communities are equipped to achieve long-lasting sustainability. CITGO partnerships with programs like Bess the Books create a positive change and help empower children, who will one day grow up and contribute to the progress and economic growth in their own communities.  

“Bess has been a great partner for many years, helping to improve local communities by establishing a love for reading in the minds and hearts of hundreds of young children,” said Rick Esser, CITGO vice president of supply and marketing. “We work very hard to give back to the places in which we live and work, and our partnership with Bess the Book Bus is a great way to empower today’s youth through education.”  

For updates on Bess the Book Bus' 2015 tour, visit Facebook or or follow Bess the Book Bus on Facebook or Twitter (@Book Bess).  

About Bess the Book Bus 
Bess the Book Bus is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to extending literacy across the country. Run by Jennifer Frances of Tampa, Florida, the organization visits local communities across the country in a specially designed "book bus," coordinating reading events and providing children with free, new books for them to keep. For more information, visit

About CITGO 
CITGO is committed to giving back to the local communities it serves through its network of locally owned CITGO locations. Local CITGO Marketers are proud to support their neighborhoods and work with programs like Bess the Book Bus.  For more information on the positive impact of the locally owned CITGO stations, visit

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit